A Letter to my Little Sister, What I Wish I Knew in High School

Dear Megan,

    This is my letter to you as you are about to enter high school. From your big sister sitting in her apartment in college reflecting on what it was like to be your age. It seems like a lifetime ago, a different person walked through the halls of my high school than the woman I am writing this letter. I could tell you it was time that changed me. But it was everything that happened in that time that made me who I am. High school was truly the best years, but they were also the worst.

    When I started my freshman year of high school, I did not like to look in the mirror because I did not like being faced with the reality of what was looking back at me. Little did I know I was not alone, even though it felt as though I was. When you walk in the first day remember that no one is as confident as they appear to be, I wish I knew that. People will tell you over and over that everyone is nervous about meeting new people, at a new school. All of which is true, but I was anxious because there were girls who were prettier, more athletic, smarter, suddenly I did not know my strengths because I was comparing myself to all the new people that surrounded me. I want you to know that in this you are not alone, the girls that try to prove themselves, the ones who appear high above anyone else are the ones who care most. Do not be intimidated by them but try and empathize. My junior year of high school I befriended the girl in my class who used to terrify me with her sheer confidence, she later divulged that her freshman year she created a list of all the ways she could become popular. This is when I realized she was just as scared as I was, as everyone was.

    Walking into that school for the first time, you are a blank slate. Your experiences, your friends, your teachers all create the lessons that teach you who you are. Your life will change, you will change, and that is terrifying. It is hard to be true to yourself when you don’t know who you are yet. So please, embrace not knowing, embrace the changes you are facing as stepping stones to the person you are building. Someone once told me that these are the few years you get to be selfish. That does not mean you get to build a selfish character, but you get to focus on yourself and build the best you that you can. Yes, high school was the best years, not because they were easy by any means but because the only responsibility I had was to myself. I had a responsibility to take every bump in the road as a step to the girl sitting in her college apartment at a school that I worked years to deserve. High school was the best because it made me the person who can handle college, who can handle the rest of my life. Where I am now made all of those years of self conscious heart ache, unhappy ugly crying, the hard decisions and the friends I lost, worth it. Keep that in the back of your mind and heart, that one day, everyday you spend in those halls will be worth it.

Love, 

Your big sister

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